"The number of commercial broilers has presently decreased by over 1.2 million heads, compared to a year ago" Dr Til Chandra Bhattarai, poultry researcher and entrepreneur told local paper Republica.
"The price of poultry inputs too have almost doubled," he added.
The latest data released by poultry entrepreneurs show that number of commercial broilers -- the main source of chicken (meat) -- has declined to 74.87 million. A year ago, its number was 76.06 million heads.
Similarly, production of broiler chicks has also dropped to 78.87 million heads until the end of the fiscal year 2011/12, from 80.91 million heads recorded a year earlier.
"We predict the price of chicken to be dearer by around 20 percent in next six to seven months given the fall in the number of commercial broilers in the farms and continued rise in the price of poultry related products such as feeds and nutrients, among others, over this year," Dr Bhattarai told Republica.
According to entrepreneurs, the prices of soy cake and maize -- poultry nutrients -- have gone up to Rs 78 and Rs 23 per kg from Rs 33 and Rs 18 per kg respectively over the year.
Similarly, feed prices have increased to Rs 48 per kg from Rs 36 per kg over the year. "As feed cost alone contribute about 80 percent in egg and 64 percent in broiler productions, fluctuation in its prices will impact the price of poultry products," he added.
"In addition to that, sporadically occurring bird-flue as well as viral, bacterial and fungal load too have casted threats to the poultry industry, as those have been raising mortality rate of chicken in the farms," said Dr Bhattarai, who is also proprietor of Pancharatna Group, a leading poultry producer in the country.
Owing to such risks, Dr Bhattarai said the most of the farmers are still reluctant to increase the stocks of commercial broilers in their farms. Such fear too is beleived to eventually bring down the population of chicken in major source districts, thereby affecting supplies and causing prices to rally.
Nepal is highly dependent on imports to cater to the growing demand of major ingredients of poultry feeds such as maize, soya cake, sesame cake, sunflower cake, soybean mill and bone mill, among others. And their prices have been going up in the international markets.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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